Best 50mm lens for your camera: 8 ‘Nifty Fifty’ lenses tested and rated

Best 50mm lens for your camera: 8 'Nifty Fifty' lenses tested and rated

Best 50mm lens for your camera: Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM

Best 50mm lens for your camera: Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM

Price: £115
Compared with the Sony 50mm f/1.4, which is the second most expensive in the group, this f/1.8 lens costs little more than a third of the price.

It’s designed exclusively for cameras that feature APS-C format image sensors, so can only be used in crop mode on full-frame bodies like the Sony A99.

It’s quite small and lightweight, but feels a bit plasticky and, like the Canon and Pentax f/1.8 lenses, has a plastic rather than metal mounting plate.

Unlike the Sony f/1.4 lens, the focus distance scale is printed on the focus ring (which rotates during autofocus), instead of being positioned beneath a viewing window.

But at least it does have a focus distance scale, which is absent on the Canon and Pentax f/1.8 lenses.

Another difference between the Sony lenses is that this one’s an SAM lens, with a built-in Smooth Autofocus Motor.

It’s a fairly basic electric motor and, on our A77 body, offered neither an increase in autofocus speed nor reduction in noise, compared with the f/1.4.

Whereas all other lenses in the group have a minimum focus distance of 45cm, this one focuses down to 34cm. As a result, the maximum magnification factor is slightly larger, at 0.2x rather than the more typical 0.15x.

Sharpness is marginally higher than in Sony’s more expensive f/1.4 lens, and colour fringing is better controlled. Vignetting on APS-C bodies is worse than with other lenses on test, which is no real surprise when all the others are full-frame compatible.

Features: 3/5
Build quality: 3/5
Image quality: 3/5
Value: 3/5

Overall: 3/5

PAGE 1 – What is a 50mm lens good for?
PAGE 2 – Features to look for in a Nifty Fifty lens
PAGE 3 – Best 50mm lens: 01 Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM
PAGE 4 – Best 50mm lens: 02 Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II
PAGE 5 – Best 50mm lens: 03 Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.4G
PAGE 6 – Best 50mm lens: 04 Nikon AF-S 50mm f/1.8G
PAGE 7 – Best 50mm lens: 05 Pentax SMC DA 50mm f/1.8
PAGE 8 – Best 50mm lens: 06 Sigma 50mm f/1.4 EX DG HSM
PAGE 9 – Best 50mm lens: 07 Sony 50mm f/1.4 A
PAGE 10 – Best 50mm lens: 08 Sony DT 50mm f/1.8 SAM
PAGE 11 – Image quality comparison
PAGE 12 – Best 50mm lens: Verdict


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